Pre-election period: social media

During the pre-election period, there are restrictions on the publicity local councils can issue.

10 tips

  1. Remember that all social media platforms operated by staff are subject to the rules of the pre-election period. 
  2. When using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or other platforms, explain that as a council channel of communication you are governed by the pre-election period. It may be helpful to tweet a link to an explanation of the pre-election period for guidance.
  3. Do not retweet or share political opinion or content posted by political parties or politicians.
  4. Do not tweet, post images or share updates on matters which are politically controversial.
  5. Monitor your page and delete any content which is politically controversial.
  6. Do not stage a significant social media-based campaign unless it can be demonstrated that it was planned before the election was called.
  7. Social media by and about the Mayor may be retweeted, shared or used as long as it is not of a political nature.
  8. Disable the ability to download images of politicians during the pre-election period.
  9. In exceptional circumstances seek permission from the communications unit to tweet or retweet a comment by a politician or to use video and images of a politician during the pre-election period.
  10. Third party social media profiles, including business partnership profiles which the council supports, are also governed by the pre-election period. Council staff who update these profiles can either continue to add content in line with the pre-election period restrictions or hand over ALL admin to a non-council member of the partnership during the pre-election period.

Six golden rules

  1. No publicity will be given to matters which are politically controversial.
  2. The general presumption will be that no references will be made to individual politicians in press releases (except where there is a valid emergency as set out below)
  3. Great caution will be exercised before undertaking any significant media exercise unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  4. No photographs of candidates in the election will be issued
  5. Before any request for council photographs and other materials is considered, enquiries will be made as to the use to which they are to be put and an appropriate restriction on use imposed if supplied.
  6. The position of Mayor as the figurehead of the authority is different and material will be issued, providing it is not of a political nature.